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Back by popular demand: Ed Wool and the Nomads

TIMES STAFF WRITER
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When Ed Wool strapped on his guitar and stepped onto the stage of Bonnie Castle in Alexandria Bay late last summer for a reunion concert with his Nomads, he had no intention of a repeat performance.


But popular demand caused a change of plans.


The waiting list of more than 300 people who couldn't get into the Bonnie Castle Home of the Stars Nightclub Sept. 13 for that Ed Wool and the Nomads concert helped to persuade Mr. Wool to get his old gang back together for a concert Friday at the Clayton Opera House.


"I had no plans on doing a second one," Mr. Wool said from his home near Albany. "But I never anticipated the response I had."


About 700 people squeezed into Bonnie Castle for the September show, about 100 more than the official capacity. The concert benefited the 1 World Foundation, an international nonprofit charitable corporation comprising volunteers from New York state and Ontario, Canada, who share a dedication to improving the lives of people with developmental disabilities.


Joseph L. Rich, executive director of the Disabled Persons Action Organization in Watertown, is a founder of the 1 World group. He said the Sept. 13 concert was the largest in the history of Bonnie Castle.


"We began to get e-mails from people asking, 'Can you do it again?'" Mr. Wool said.


He said the Clayton concert will reprise last September's performance and will include the same musicians. Mr. Wool will be joined by Claudia Marsh, his sister, and former Nomads Mike Christie, Thomas P. Costanzo, Peter Hrabchak, Phil Udaskin and Bob Watts.


Amy L. Flack, executive director of the Thousands Islands Performing Arts Fund, which runs the Clayton Opera House, said the Friday concert will be different in that the opera house will set aside an area for dancing in the balcony. She said the opera house can seat 425 people, but about 75 seats will be pulled for a dance area.


Mr. Wool, a 1962 graduate of Watertown High School who now lives in Scotia, has had a long career in music. From the mid-'60s to the mid-'70s, he and his bands were well known in the north country and recorded music for several major record labels.


Ed Wool and the Nomads got their start in 1963 and soon developed a fan base that followed them across the region. The group made several records with RCA and then went on to record with other labels under other names — the Sure Cure and later the Pineapple Heard.


The spark for last September's reunion came in 2005, when Mr. Wool was informed that a record label wanted to remaster and rerelease the 1969 album "Wool" that came out on the ABC record label.


A DVD of the Bonnie Castle concert is scheduled to be released this year. Also, more rereleases of Wool albums are in the works. Mr. Wool said Sundazed Music, based in Coxsackie, is working on remastering some titles.


Mr. Wool, who has led his Albany-based Ed Wool Band since the 1980s, said the reunions of Ed Wool and Nomads are "a dream come true."


"I'd been trying to think of ways to thank everybody for their support, but I didn't want to play up there because I didn't look the same," he said.


He added, "I was afraid people would be disappointed. It turned out to be just the opposite."

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